Taking their cue from “Satan, free love, rock ‘n’ roll and maybe a little Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Sir Lord Baltimore. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg…” explains keyboardist Mike Gittens. Vancouver’s Tobeatic just finished recording their full length All to Hell.
Describing this band can take on an unreal and mythic quality. “Six dudes riding the back of a giant bear with the head of an eagle traversing the wasteland and saving humanity with the superpowers of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s kinda like the littlest hobo but with more swords, magic and guitars,” he exclaims. Alternately, their namesake, Tobeatic has a rooted quality. “It’s a large wilderness reserve in Nova Scotia close to where Gord grew up,” he says and “most of the lyrics are about his times out there. I believe Tobeatic means, ‘Place of the Alder’ in the Mi’kmaq language.”
Members include: Gordon Smith on vox/guitar, Gittens on organ, Rick O’Dell on bass, Joel James Loewen on drums, Brock MacInnes and Troy Horton on lead guitar. Upon hearing this band, it’s quite apparent that the combined influence of the members’ various projects can only add and enhance the thick stew of Tobeatic’s sound. For example: the grind sludge of Cooked and Eaten, sludge doom of Rotting Hills, Percheron’s lonesome country, Wiser Fool’s ’70s doom rock, Erosion’s d-beat and the punk pop of Hard Feelings. “Gord put the band together. We had a couple of jams with a different lineup in 2009,” he says. “Late 2010 we started it back up with Troy, Joel and Brock. We asked Rick to come down and he was a perfect fit! We tried out three different lead singers along the way but ended up where we started, with Gord singing.”
All to Hell was recorded it at Hive Creative Labs with Jesse Gander. “This was the third time we’ve tried to make an album, going with Jesse was a no brainer and he did such an amazing job! His ears and brain have been refined for making rock ‘n’ roll records,” explains Gittens. The digital download is available now on their Bandcamp but expect a hard copy by summer. Additional credits go to Alison Lilly for the album artwork and Johnny Wakeham of Bogus Tokus and Feather Wolf does a guest appearance on the track “Frozen Ocean” where he plays harmonica and slide guitar. MacInnes, the guitarist did the video (watch below) for the same track as well as for bands: Cooked and Eaten and Rotting Hills.
Finally, what binds this band together? “Pretty much just playing music every Thursday and drinking beer!” he exclaims. And it looks like a Canadian tour by summer and a 7-inch split is brewing!
Hear Tobeatic live, March 1st at the Rickshaw Theatre. Catch them mid-month on March 15th and April 19th at the Astoria Pub. Listen to All to Hell from their Bandcamp page below.
By tiina liimu
Photo: Bubba Hamilton
[bandcamp album=3731409189 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=f65e37 size=venti]BC, British Columbia